An Open Letter To Former Mode Media Publishers

Mode Media Bankruptcy
By now you’ve probably heard that Mode Media, formerly Glam Media, and its $1 billion valuation has closed its doors. While most of the news you’re going to read about Mode Media will focus on its valuation, investors, and the failed attempt at a sale or IPO, I want to address the people that actually built the company. I want focus on the bloggers.

Before I do that, I want you to know who I am. Nine years ago, I started a home cleaning company called Maids Express in Boston. It was more out of necessity than a chosen career path, and I quickly learned the ins and outs of acquiring customers through Internet advertising. At about the same time, I also discovered WordPress, and began blogging for a hobby. Before I knew it, my blog had been linked to by a large sports blog and my shared server came crashing down and any hope of making $10 in a single day went away with it.

Other bloggers started emailing me with encouraging words, saying that they liked my content and one even asked if I’d consider writing for their blog. That’s when I had my “aha” moment and realized that I could make this hobby into a living.

 

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When You Find Out Mode Media Closed

As the recession took my $10,000 a month cleaning business right into the toilet, I found myself putting more and more time into blogging and watching that revenue stream grow. It was mostly due to my own effort to generate ten posts per day, but there were many people along the way that helped me. Essentially there was an underground community of bloggers that behind the scenes was working together to help each other out. We’d exchange ideas, do link dumps, and also give insight and invites to ad networks.

This is how I met my business partner Nat Berman. He was one of those guys in that circle, and the biggest complaint that everyone had was about ad networks. Late payments, reporting discrepancies, payment discrepancies, teaser $2 CPM guaranteed rates that would drop to a rev share 20 cent CPM the following month…we saw it all.

Out of that frustration Blogstand Media LLC (now BC Media Group) was formed. Our goal was to put the publishers first, and to help them monetize their sites and grow their traffic. We always paid on time, and we always paid our publishers before we paid ourselves. We weren’t just an ad network, we were a one stop shop for anyone that wanted to make a living blogging, and we were coming up with creative ways to make money outside of banner ads.

Our publisher network grew into the hundreds, but as new technology was introduced, we saw the ad network model dying. So we went back to what we knew how to do best, we stopped operating our ad network and became full-time publishers again, which is what we are today.

Now that you know who I am, let’s get to why I’m really writing this. I’ve been in your shoes and I want to help you. So here is what you need to know about Mode Media and moving forward…

Mode Media Has Not Declared Bankruptcy

I’m not saying that they won’t declare bankruptcy, I’m just stating the fact that I did a PACER search and Mode Media has not filed anything. The latest filing was a case that was closed this week in which Mode Media sued a cybersquatter over the domain Glamscoop.org.

Mode Media Probably Has Enough Assets To Cover Publisher Fees

Despite ceasing operation, Mode Media is still valuable. Although they were generating $90MM+ in annual sales, that doesn’t mean that they were profitable. Closing their doors was simply the easiest way to stop the bleeding under what I’m sure was an enormous amount of investor pressure. The question is though, will they sell off assets and if they do, what will they use the proceeds for? Will they pay publishers first, or will some or all of the investors get some of their money back. Since they are a private company, the only way to know this is if someone chooses to share that information.

Get In Touch With Your Account Rep

Your account rep is now out of a job and likely hates their former employer that just kicked them to the curb. Find them on Linkedin and connect with them. They might be able to offer some insight about what the future holds in regards to payment.

Get A Copy Of Your Publisher Agreement & Screenshot Your Earnings

My understanding is that the publisher portal has been shut down. There’s no way that they have dumped that database, they did this to try and keep the noise from publishers down. Keep and eye on the portal and if you are able to login at some point, notify other former Mode Media publishers through email and on Twitter.

In regards to the publisher agreement, if someone has a copy of theirs they are willing to share, I’d love to see it and can have a lawyer review it. Unfortunately, I expect there will be a clause that states that if they go out of business they don’t owe publishers any money.

Warning: The Scum Bags Are Coming

Right now every ad network is trying to figure out how they can scoop up Mode Media publishers. The last thing you need to do is get locked into a bad contract, or dealing with another network that isn’t going to pay you. You’ll hear from people that claim they are a network, but you’ve never heard of them and there’s nobody to vouch for them. If you’re ever in doubt, just request a pre-payment until you build up a working relationship with someone.

Help Each Other

If you reach my intro, you already know what I’m talking about. The blogging community is amazing, especially when we help each other. Start selling sponsored posts on your own, and when you do sell one make an intro to another publisher that you think might be interested. Don’t be afraid to share ideas because even if someone steals it, you just need to execute it better.

Let’s Talk About It

There are a lot of publishers talking about this on Twitter using the hashtags #modemedia and #ModeOwesBloggers . Twitter is great in real time, but I’d like to generate a discussion here and make this page a resource for former Mode Media publishers. I’ll continually update this page with any news I find or info that is passed along to me.

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